Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review of Theater Oobleck's Song About Himself

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Song About Himself. It was by Mickle Maher and Theater Oobleck never has a director, kind of like Back Room Shakespeare. It was about a woman named Carol (Diana Slickman) who heard about this website where you could meet people like yourself and people unlike yourself where she met a nameless Host/Hostess (Colm O'Reilly). She also met a guy named Tod (Guy Massey) who was kind of in love with Carol because he didn't really know anyone or anything. Something bad has happened in the world, but there are people still alive, but things are sort of crappy and some people can't really put together sentences. She is lonely so she goes on this find-friends site so she can meet other people that can speak. This is like the one web site that there is because the others don't exist anymore. It is kind of like if Facebook just plummeted and somebody went back to MySpace and nobody else really wanted to. But then it seems like the Host/Hostess really wants Carol to stay, kind of like Candy Crush, how they make you super addicted to it and you keep going back even though you don't really want to. It is about feeling lonely, coming back even though you don't know why, and hopefulness.

There wasn't anything on the stage except for a spotlight (lighting design by Martha Bayne)and the characters would say the stage directions. Like the Host/Hostess would say "fading" when the light was fading. And he would say that all the time whenever the lights came down. And sometimes you wouldn't see people you would just hear them. And then that was more mysterious and also it was actually more realistic because actually if you were online you probably wouldn't see their actual lips moving or their actual faces just their words if you were just on Facebook or email or something. I thought it would make a cool movie if they did this show but then the only things that you saw were the tops of their heads and see their typing and hear a voiceover. It would be cool to have a voiceover even though you wouldn't need it because this entire play is about speaking and not being able to talk.

I thought that Tod was a really interesting character because he was a mailman and everybody was saying that mailmen were mentally ill. And he still seemed like a very sane person because when he got to know Carol on the weed--the worldwide weed--he wanted to meet her in real life so it seemed like he could speak and some of the other people left in the world seemed more insane. Like Carol's neighbors can't really talk, but he had a special thing like Carol: they can both really talk. Tod is in this because the audience wants to be able to want two people to get together and live happily ever after, but then when there are obstacles and everything is not going as planned, it makes the entire thing more emotional.

The nameless Host/Hostess was kind of like the comic relief but you kind of felt sorry for him because he was just a thing of the weed. And in that world, being a part of the internet, it was a bad thing. You couldn't know if you were actually real or not. You felt sorry for him a lot because he knew he wasn't human but he wanted Carol to be his friend. But then she didn't really want to, when she just wanted to talk to Tod instead of talking to the nameless Host/Hostess. And I thought it was super funny how mad he got when someone wouldn't lengthy post. Then he would be like, "You have to lengthy post! CAROL!" I think he wanted her to lengthy post because then that means they could talk about the lengthy post and they could back-and-forth. I think that a computer program, kind of like a virtual pet or a virtual friend like Siri, can still want things and refuse to do things. And he could have been a person typing what he was saying. Computer programs are made by people programming computers!

The character of Carol was sad because she was such a messed up person but then kind of comical still because of some of the very strange things she said to the nameless Host/Hostess. Sometimes she would be like, "I practiced the clarinet!" and she would just flip out about how much she had practiced and how there should be more people on YouSpake, the website that they are on. But then the heartbreaking part is when she wants to be able to meet Tod and she finds out she can't. I can't say why because that would give away the story. And she also watches this TV show that is funny/sad. It is called Song About Himself and there is this guy who says that they will listen to the great poet but then the thing is that they never end up getting to it because either the disc is smudged or they can't find it. Or the most funny one was when she was talking to the nameless Host/Hostess about it and she was listening to Song About Himself and she was like, "They are actually going to get to listen to the great poet!" but then the nameless Host/Hostess said, "I know this show. I have actually seen this one. They drop it behind the couch." And then she was like, "Oh. Damn it. They did drop it behind the couch!" They never actually get to the thing you have been waiting for, but Carol always has hope that everything will be okay in the end. The TV show is kind of like the show because Carol wants to listen to the great poet and you feel like she never will, but you still have hope. So you are like Carol. And Carol is like the guy on the TV. And it is like a line of being like people. The nameless Host/Hostess really wants to hear words and poetry, that's why he wants lengthy posts, so that he can read them and be happy. But you think he's never going to get them.

People who would like this show are people who like poetry, lengthy posts, and clarinets. I think people should definitely go see this show. It is eye-opening and it will blow your mind. And I actually think that while I was writing the review I understood it even better than when I was watching it. So, I think it would be good if when you got home you could write down some ideas that you had about the show and you can think about those ideas for a little while.

Photos: Evan Hanover

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